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Grateful Dead Live at Avalon Ballroom on 1969-04-05

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Grateful Dead Live at Avalon Ballroom on 1969-04-05

Topics Live concert

Dupree's Diamond Blues-> Mountains Of The Moon-> Jam-> Dark Star-> Saint Stephen-> The Eleven-> Turn On Your Love Light Hard To Handle, Cosmic Charlie, China Cat Sunflower-> Jam-> Doin' That Rag, Cryptical Envelopment-> Drums-> The Other One-> Cryptical Envelopment-> The Eleven-> It's A Sin, Alligator-> Drums-> Feedback-> We Bid You Good Night

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Avalon Ballroom
Location San Francisco, CA

Source Soundboard
Lineage SBD > Rm (7 inch Master Reels @ 7.5ips 1/2trk) > DAT > Sonic Solutions > CD > EAC > Samplitude > SHN
Taped by
Transferred by Charlie Miller


Just before Cryptical Envelopment and again before Alligator Bobby noodles the opening chords of Weather Report Prelude.


Reviewer: c-freedom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 5, 2016
Subject: It's a sin
A nice blues tune with Jerry on vocals and Pig on harp.

Rest of show is mighty fine!
Read the 50 reviews.
Reviewer: guinnjub - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 4, 2015
Subject: Felines of the Dead
With all seriousness, check out the faint "meowing" right around the 1:40 mark of St Stephen.

Listening to this cold sober on a work day and happened to notice it. Other than that, man Mountains of the Moon just oozes with magic, emotion, passion, energy, vibrations, etc.

I'm pretty sure it's the same Mnts that's included in the most wonderful Garcia Discs. If you haven't before, definitely find those and give them a listen. It's a mix of the Dead, JGB, Legion of Mary, Reconstruction, and Jerry & Grisman. Real moving. Kind of a best of the best collection.

That's all. Stay Grateful friends.
Reviewer: AndrewFinnigan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 9, 2015
Subject: grate 69 show
2nd set gets hyped a bit, but you can hear the progression
Reviewer: Darrylizer - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 29, 2015
Subject: The good the bad and the ugly
Dupree's Diamond Blues is an excellent and fun acoustic opening number followed by an equally excellent Mountains Of The Moon that starts acoustic then becomes electric and morphs into Dark Star. Very nice! Love Light follows and is a spirited version.

Unfortunately Hard To Handle is a sputtering trainwreck. It was only the second time they played it and it shows. For some reason Jerry decides to play slide and he's just awful in the way Bobby was awful in the 80s. Youch! (If you want to hear some HTHs that smoke check out 08/06/71 the AUD version and 08/14/71, there are a host of others but those are my favorite two) After HTH it's time for Cosmic Charlie which is taken WAY too slow with Jer continuing the slide, omfg. The vocals are not rewarding either.

The rest of the show is perhaps a bit sloppy but also energetic, creative and well worth listening to. The band makes up for HTH and Charlie with some spirited playing on China Cat. The Other One is especially tasty as is The Eleven. The Eleven fades down at the end to the slow blues of It's A Sin with Pig on harmonica, very nice. Then it's time for an all too brief Alligator which fades into drums and an all too long Feedback which fades into We Bid You Goodnight.

Considering the high quality of shows the Dead played in 69 both earlier and later during this excellent year, I can't give the show any more than 3 stars. It's all about the context. Dont let my nitpicky review stop you though, it's worth listening to at least once.
Reviewer: LOVELOVEJERRY69 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 12, 2015
THE dead ended their shows ,,,with WE BID YOU GOOd night.............which has religious connotations.......but when you take orange sunshine ,,,,the first revelation is ,,,there is no,,,SANTA CLAUS,,,and no fictional man ,,in the sky......lsd for sure brings the user to the TRUTH,,,,,OF EVERYTHING,,,KNOWN/unknown...relations of truth,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,shows should have been,,,,,,,,,,,FEEDBACK ( PURE LSD 100 % )......into,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,we bid you goodnight ( on acid )............" I LOVE YOU,,,but ACID LOVES YOU THE BEST,,,,,,and we bid you good acid trip.....good trip....good trip.....good night ....GOODE NITE,,,,,WE LOVE ACID,,,,AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

.............................and we bid you,,,,,,,,GOOD LSD NIGHT,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,after ,,,,FEEDBACK> ACID SPACE>WE BID YOU,,,GOOD NIGHT ( ACID )..........................

THAT is why tripping to the DEAD,,,,IS/WAS THE BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,every second of the shows back then were drenched with ....LSD,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,WITHOUT LSD/HALLUCINOGENIC DRUGS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,DARK STAR ,,,WOULD never have been created,,,,it was created purely from,,,,the groups experimentation with ,,,,,ACID/HALLUCINOGENIC drugs/maryjane.........the dead peaked..............Jan. 1968......till DEC. 1970.........................with the HIGHEST PERIOD,,,,,,,,being,,,,,,,,,,,JAN,,,THRU MAY 1969 ( LIVE DEAD ALBUM )....................JERRY GARCIA WE ..LOVER YOU................AND WITHOUT YOU ( AND PIG PEN ) ,,,,,,,,,,THERE ,,,would be no DEAD,,,,,,you we such a force in the ,,,DEAD,,,,JERRY,,,,,,,,,,,,the boys,,,BOBBY,,,,,AND PHIL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,are completely lost without replacement ,,,,,,JERRY G. HAS even came close to what you were,,,,,,doing,,,,,,,,,DEAD,,,AFTER 1970,,,MAY BE POLISHED,,,,,,,BUT NOTHING after DEC 1970,,,even comes close to this,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,many DEADHEADS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,NOW ,,some BREAD HEADS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,SAY,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the DEAD GOT better ,,,and better,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,no way,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,they got worse and worse,,,,,,,,by 1994 ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,JERRY G.,,,WAS A TRILLION TIMES WORSE,,,than 1966,,,thru 1976,,,,when GERRY WAS ON,,,,,,,,,,,,,,JERRY continued to be on ,,to a degree,,,,sporadic but often enough ,,,,from 1977....thru DEC 1984..................after 1984,,,the DEAD,,,,died,,,,JERRY died,,,,BOBBY tried to take over,,,but BOBBY is not JERRY,,,,........died meaning that a DEAD SHOW FROM 1985,,THU 1994,,,,JERRY G. WAS no longer putting out the magic,,,,,unhealthy body,,was taking over,,,,and taking ,,,THIS GENIUS,,,,down,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,little by little following ,,1976,,,we are watched ,,,HOW JERRY G'S ,,health worsened with each year/tour.............we all new it was only a matter of time..............we lost our real god....JERRY GARCIA,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,5 STARS,,,,,,ALMOST ,.,,all the shows from JAN. 1968,,thru DEC,,1970,,,are 5 stars,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,WHY bother to RATE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,SOME idiots on here,,,gave several of the shows 2 stars,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,no show from 1968 or 1969 is 2 stars,,,,,,,,,,,we bid you good DEAD
Reviewer: doug_the_dude - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 5, 2015
Subject: --
What a strange experience, this show - weird even by '69's unabashed psychedelic standard -

First set covers some pretty familiar ground for this year; Lovelight is still in need of a patch. To hear those familiar chords on the heels of the William Tell bridge is unusual...

...and it just gets weirder as the 2nd set begins. This was only the 2nd time the band played Hard to Handle live, as far as I can tell, and it shows - they really try to get it right, and bless 'em - it's so positively *weird*, and Jer trying out his slide techniques adds to the surrealism (he's about as "good" on slide as Bobby was in the 80s, imo). Cosmic Charlie chugs its charming way through the mud, and the real goods here are throughout the Other One suite. They positively stretch and strain for something new throughout the set, but really do hit some high watermarks here. Listen to Jerry.

Aliigator has no jam following Drums - they go right into ten minutes of feedback. Seriously odd, beautiful, brilliant Grateful Dead.
Reviewer: gr8fuldad73 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 27, 2014
Subject: off the hook!!
This show is beyond the pale.absolutely essential dead.
Reviewer: chris phillips - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 27, 2014
Subject: excellent Stephen
Mr. G is etching out quite a landscape in DS.
1/25-4/26 is immortal Dead.
5 stars compared to anything after 1970.
Reviewer: '66-testing - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 4, 2014
Subject: Experience?
Im a young dead listener who, unfortunetly, never got to experience a Dead show. If theres anyone who would like to take the time to type out some of their own live Dead Experiences, I would greatly apprieciate it. Thanks.
Reviewer: DMT - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 16, 2013
Subject: .
Reviewer: JoeShoe - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 5, 2013
Subject: Birthday show
I was born on this day some years later. This date is blessed by numerous fine shows, this is probably my favorite.
The Cryptical>Eleven is a one time only segue between two of the most sublime jams in the GD repertoire.
Although some of the playing isn't up to par with the best of this amazing year, it is still a classic performance with numerous highlights.
Reviewer: headless deadhead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 6, 2013
Subject: As Stated below &
It's not even close. This is vastly superior to other source
Reviewer: njpg - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 6, 2012
Subject: By far the better of two recordings,
this one really fully captures the tone of Garcia's acoustic guitar, and the sublime shift from acoustic to electric at the Mountains/Dark Star transition point. That point, by the way, is one of the finest artistic achievements the Dead ever hit--not just at this show, but the whole concept of Mountains/Dark Star, on every level from the lyrical to the tonal. This should have been as much an establishment as China/Rider, I think, but the Dead were still figuring out what kind of band they wanted to be at this point. The Dark Star is one of my favorites, and I'm pretty sure that parts of it were used on Live/Dead. Hard to Handle is still mainly just a way for Garcia to practice his slide technique, but Cosmic Charlie is becoming more defined. China doesn't really segue into Rag like it would into Rider, it just kinda pauses pregnantly before Rag starts. Yeah, all in all it's not the most tremendous show ever, falling off a bit later on, but great nonetheless.
Reviewer: rebelsaint - - January 15, 2012
Subject: 'Dick's Picks' and 'Road Trips'
you can download them on Soulseek.
Reviewer: Alex, Geddy, Neil, Jerry, Bobby, Phil, Brent, Mickey, Billy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 29, 2010
Subject: time machine
DSO played this show last night here in SF...
Reviewer: direwolf600 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 17, 2010
Subject: Primal
Child of mine, who doesn't love these old Dupree's? This isn't the strongest one out there; Jer's voice is quite as compelling as some others¡Kit¡¦s still got that kick though. While his voice detracts from the Dupree's it's vulnerability lends itself just right to this Mountains. Watch out at the 3:40 mark, I don¡¦t know, but it sounds like someone is murdering a crow. You can hear the call for dark star even before Jer puts down the acoustic, something about the mood, and Phil. After the verse, Jerry, drops in heavy and thick reverberating the feeling of silence while screaming a top a mountain on the moon. Basically, he gets in with extra umph. Bob's playing has really only just started to develop any signature style, and it pops in noticeably in the first minute of the jam. Something very absent from 68 Dark Stars, and something ever present in the jams of the next 26 years.

Right in at the 9 minute mark a nice shift takes place that leads them to their eventual route with a sweet little feelin groovy jam. Before that however, at the 11:00 mark it almost sounds like a DJ from 1997 hops on and scratches a few riffs, followed up by some very drippy, bear inspired play. They go far out, this must be what it would be like to walk the dark side of the moon with no fear of what happens next, as far as what music would make sense in your head at the time that is. Again at the 14:43 mark the feelin groovy theme is revisited as they drop into a heavy Dark Star riff. While the feelin groovy jam is never dropped into, here is an early example of how it did eventually flow freely in and out of Dark Star. This Dark Star is notable for the aggressive nature Jerry takes with his solo and the slight of hand he applies to trick you into thinking it's still going on and before you know it, they have down shifted into harmonious weirdness. Fantastic Star, short and excruciatingly precise.

Nowhere to go but St. Stephen from that, just perfect. These old shows make me feel like I can squeeze the air in front of me until it bursts. The ease with which the dead were able to go from chaos to tranquility was rarely displayed so vibrantly as the first St. Stephen¡¦s. You want to hear passion? On time, at seconds 13 then 14, the again covering 18-19 listen for Jerry make his announcement, or proclamation. We came to TRICK YOU AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Into Lovelight we go. Very good lovelight. Jerry real digs in as does Phil just after the 5 minute mark, and as soon as they get in mickey and bill. There is so much enthusiasm in this grateful dead. They do a great harmony backing pig here as well, its 1969 and they are mixing folk, pop country, acid rock, blues, jazz, and swing all into one progression, its really something when you try to pick apart 74 and before dead music. The level at which things were happening when they were on is astounding. Nice drop in for pig just after the 8 minute. Lovelight gets up to a wonderful frenzy. Not the greatest of the era by any stretch, but it has its own thing going on. Nice multiple mini pig raps, very aggressive play from Garcia and Lesh while the drummers flow in and out. I don¡¦t want to say not asserting themselves, b/c that implies weakness, but remove that implication. They are playing off each other in a way that didn't really happen after mickey left and returned.

2:53 Hard to Handle, you can hear the scream from the audience. OOOOOOOOOWWWWWWU. Its that kind, even though it takes them 1:20 to get in time with each other. It actually seems like poor song choice here, everyone is ready to go go go go, and they played a song that requires a certain amount of discipline in order to make it effective and/or good. Just before the 5 minute mark Jerry seems to get it there, but it falls apart again. Really the only sub par song in the show.

HeHe Bobs voice cracks around 1:18 of Cosmic Charlie. Hehe And then much worse about 1:50. Jer, may even poke some fun at him with a few of the notes he plays on slide just after. Who knows, but it sure sounds like it. They are still having issues during this Charlie, but there is some comedy in this due to the multiple voice cracks from young bobby. This is the 12th performance of appx 547 China Cats, and its place in this show is the marker that puts them back on track. The first set was very powerful, and interesting. The start to set two really through them for a loop. Even though they weren't necessarily together, they never got so far away as there are little moments of brilliance that live in the mess of H2H and Cosmic Charlie. From China Cat on though, they are driving an Indy car at NASCAR speeds on an off-road course, but it feels like a smooth ride down main street, don't let the boxing traffic lights scare you, this man-eating cranberry is on it. Everyone's doin the rag. The Doin' That Rag is excellent, really, just a splendid version, and as I mentioned, things just get thicker as we move along. This cryptical manages the oh so hard, loudness while in its most quiet measures. A quick drums and then full on explosion. It takes an extra few seconds, the drummers fall out for a beat and Jer, well who knows, maybe his butt itched, but he had to take a note off. Weir should really be turned up here, he has some nice chops going, but they are barely audible.

Words can't do this TOO justice, it is much like the Dark Star in that when you are finished you think you've just heard a 20+ minute long version and then realize it was under 10. So much is going on, so much music, 5 interlacing thoughts and strategies finding their way to the same end. This is possibly the best sub 10 minute TOO there is. I won¡¦t say more, hopefully that explains it.

They find their way back to another peak in Crytpical and Jer really tears into it. The Eleven gets off slow, but as the lyrics begin everything coalesces, Jer lays down a soft lick underneath the Bob and Phil part and then things go. Jerry's voice sounds great. It's not the greatest Eleven imo, very strong and the segue as well as the outtro were both excellent. It flows very well into It's A Sin, which is a very nice pure version. Then Jerry yells, ¡§What do ya¡¦ll want to hear that will last for 10 minutes?
Alligator Pig has sounded great the whole night. Alligator is super, then drums, a very good drums, but right around the 4 minute mark something happens that makes it great, really great, but you¡¦ll have to listen. Then Feedback, great for the right mindset/time and place feedback. This AWBYGN is a little different than many others. Awesome ending.

Show 8/10
Sound 6(7 for 69)
Overall 8/10
Reviewer: luvvdubz73 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 4, 2010
Subject: awesome
...special hometown setlist... 'nough said.
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 1, 2010
Subject: greatness
don't feel i need to add to much to this one... like the doc says these avalon shows and the ark run 4/21-23 are essential. i think ark run is a little better than these shows though.

be sure to check out the unique transition from Cryptical Reprise into the rollicking version of The Eleven - very fluid and melodic.
Reviewer: nigeldavahah - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 26, 2010
Subject: THis rocks for so many reasons-COUNTRY DEAD WAS ON IT'S WAY
Reviewer: SeaClasper - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 19, 2009
Subject: Great show, not THAT psychedelic!
As someone who is not that big of a 60's Dead fan, I found this to be a great show and great quality to be boot. Some really inspired playing, and Phil is in good form especially. I didn't find this show NEARLY as psychedelic as the last reviewer, just lots of good jams, with some (as always) psychedelic sections, such as the 'feedback'. Anyway, worth a good listen with headphones no matter what era of the Dead you're partial to!
Reviewer: redwinter - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 14, 2009
Subject: Psychedelic
Definition: This show. This show is the most psychedelic thing I have ever heard. I like the carnival like atmosphere of the show. I read one review that said there were flame throwers in the audience. !!!! How psychedelic can you get? I love the changes in Dark Star how the guitar can seem like a gentle lullaby and then sound like some razor demon a few seconds later. Many of these songs have seen better performances. St. Stephen, Hard To Handle, Turn On Your Lovelight, are all sub par. I agree, it's weird they didn't put the Eleven after the William Tell bridge. That's really weird. But then again this is the most psychedelic show I've ever heard and it's all about the weirdness right? China Cat Sunflower is like nothing I've ever heard. Cosmic Charlie. I'm too much in love with the lyrics of this song that even a bad performance gets top rating in my book and they seem to be goofing around on this version. It sounds very much like the one on Aoxomoxoa. I love Cryptical through Sin, very nice. Doin' That Rag? Um...well, that song is... different. I don't really know what to say about this song. It's not my favorite but I've never really heard a bad performance. In a way it kind of reminds me of Row Jimmy. Alligator through Goodnight is incredible. I was walking through the forest in my hometown listening to Feedback on my iPOD and I felt like I was Alice leaving Wonderland. Despite some subpar performances I'm still giving it 5 stars because it's finally satisfied my psychedelic thirst.
Reviewer: oh_uh_um_ah - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 5, 2009
Subject: The GRATEFUL DEAD "Live On Stage" April 5, 1969 at the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.


"A must have show".

I highly recommend adding this show to your 1969 GRATEFUL DEAD collection.

40 years ago today The GRATEFUL DEAD were peforming at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, California and here is what it sounded like.

It's a Charlie Miller transfer! WOW!

5 Stars for the mix, recording, and performance.

I highly recommend you click on Charlie Miller's name and collect all his GRATEFUL DEAD shows. His taste in GRATEFUL DEAD shows is impeccable.

The IA recommends for easy streaming and downloading, users of Windows XP should be viewing this web-page with the media player called RealPlayer. It's FREE and can be downloaded at

Using RealPlayer to view the IA, click the VBR M3U link and the songs will open in the Playlist. Make sure your Playlist window is open by clicking the Playlist button located at the bottom right hand corner of your screen in RealPlayer. Then double click on the songs in your Playlist to stream the song and then click the record button on the bottom left side of your screen in RealPlayer to download them.

When the "red" record line moves to the end you can click the "stop" button to download the song. The song has downloaded to your RealPlayer Download Folder.

It sounds harder than it is...RealPlayer has your typical "cassette tape" button configuration, play, record, rewind, pause, forward. Very intuitive. Good luck, I've downloaded hundreds of shows this song at a time.

Remember to click the DeadLists Project link to download the poster for this show...far out man...

Seven minutes and fifty seven seconds of Feedback from the Avalon Ballroom, 1969. Holy Moly!

Eat, Drink, Be Merry and Listen to the GRATEFUL DEAD.

Thanks for the LOVE from 1969.

God bless Charlie Miller.
Reviewer: RobertTKeeley - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 5, 2009
Subject: Yup, on this day I'd have liked to been there
Set my time machine for 40 years ago. Must seem like a dream to those there if they remember this show. This show is super crisp, just plop down anywhere and it's a real treat. If you're here on some April 5th, take the time out of your day to enjoy Chalie Miller's work.
Reviewer: Michels24 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 20, 2008
Subject: one of my all time favorites - anyone have a copy?
I have listened to this one for a while. Forgot how tight it was. Anyone download a copy before it was too late? If so, please let me know bill_michels @ yahoo. com.
Reviewer: noirerouge - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 6, 2008
Subject: night to remember
My wife (we weren't married yet) and I were at this show. I had just got out of the air force she was still in. I went overseas (Turkey) in 1967 where we met. After 2 years of trying to describe what it was like to hear the Dead at the avalon we finally had a chance to live it. It was an avalon without the family dog but the vibes were still powerful. The audience was loaded in a lot of ways Kesey was there, the angels were out in force, there were fire eaters sitting on the floor. The Dead were even better than this recording. It was the last time I saw then there i'll never forget it, they came close to levitating the whole block.
Reviewer: gruUbic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 13, 2008
Subject: 4-5-6-9
Who am I to judge the boyz...
as young
as clear
as badarse as this is
wow ---
fudge facebook,
our space!
god bless the friggin high tech 69 DEAD!
The Show's a phuhkin gem
please, maestro
...gimme'm a five!

Reviewer: anaujiram13 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 5, 2008
Subject: CHINA CAT
Reviewer: lemon lime partridge - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 16, 2007
Subject: mind...gone...g...o...n...e...
this is the one. i mean, this is IT man. can't even...i can't even...blllrrrrrgggzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzmmmmmmmmm
Reviewer: jlglex - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 5, 2007
Subject: This Spanish Lady Rocks!
This is the best Other One I have ever heard.

Intense, racing, passionate, crisp, creative yet tight, deep, and seamlessly tied into Cryptical Envelopment.

China Cat is also pretty sweet.
Reviewer: capn doubledose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 27, 2006
Subject: Is that Duane in there on the slide guitar on lovelight?
This is majesty pure and simple.
Reviewer: fucktherobots - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 25, 2006
Subject: .
Reviewer: Kola67 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 30, 2006
Subject: nice show but not a blockbuster
i like this show and listen to it more than just once in awhile. great sound and great set list though I wouldn't point to any songs here as definitive versions.

I'm probably going to say something controversial here: The Dark Star has fairly strong momentum but the extraordinary is missing. I think Jerry fires off some nice leads and it shifts gears taking you on the journey that is Dark Star, but it doesn't make a straight person hallucinate - you know what I mean? The Fillmore shows the prior month were so outstanding perhaps it suffers only in comparison, yet for me there are other epic Dark Stars from this time (notably the 2/22/69 effort) and this doesn't feel like one of them. In fact in a few songs it feels like the band is dragging just a little.

This is only an average St Stephen and they abort The Eleven to go into a solid Lovelight (they come back later). Hard To Handle is great to hear as a new introduction to the setlist. Cosmic Charlie opens with a nice lilting intro, something I prefer over the Revolver-like jamming intros. But the vocals sounds like they're playing at 30 RPM.

Then they go into a great China Cat. This is really a prime early version that gets me so pumped I have to wonder why I have so many early 69 set lists that don't include it.

Doin' That Rag, a very underrated song in my opinion, is perfunctory here. The Other One suite is played with some passion that perks you up. The Eleven is played in a style where every component can really be heard and focused on. Not an over the top version, but very compelling where you can really tune into the groove. Then we get treated to a rarity with It's a Sin. I happen to like this Feedback a lot.

More of a thoughtful show than a tour de force, there is something here for everyone to enjoy, and I probably come back to it mostly for a specific mood and the variety of the setlist.
Reviewer: Earl Boehm - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 15, 2006
Subject: Get it while u can
Yes it is a great show and it's downloadable at now, or you can scream it here-4stars for sound-5 show
Reviewer: williscat2000 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 15, 2006
Subject: mountains of the moon jam
excellent stuff, morphs from acoustic to electric into dark star, which has just come so far over the last several months...the jamming thru the whole show continues to solidify the direction they are turning as an improvisational live band. SOund quality is excellent. It is hard to not give most of these great 1969 shows 5 stars.
Reviewer: AmshMisfit - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 22, 2005
Subject: everbody's doin that rag
Hot stuff coming through.
Reviewer: dire--wolf - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 19, 2005
Subject: very nice
great show..sound quality is excellent. a little hiss but it is a 69 show. thanks for the show!!!
Reviewer: kidstardust - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 17, 2005
Subject: Jer goes bananas!!
This show is ABSOLUTELY top shelf. Jerry is on fire, throughout. I do want to address the Docs comments, here though nobody was playing like Hendrix in 1969 (Clapton admits he wasnt) and Garcia is no exception. That said, Garcias axe work is every bit as interesting as Jimis (or Clapton, if you ant to include him).

This show is hot. Hear for yourself.
sound: 5/5
performance: 5/5
Reviewer: tommytomato - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 26, 2005
Subject: Song order controversy
DeadBase confirms that order listed on the files is correct. It specifically states St. Stephen>William Tell Bridge>Lovelight. Also confirms Cryptical>Eleven in 2nd set. This show is 5 stars in every catagory! IMHO one of the top 10 shows available on this site at this time. Download ASAP and enjoy!
Reviewer: bonk - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 21, 2005
Subject: Best sounding boot
Aside from the monster PLAYING,Dig the CLEAN QUALITY....WOW..I would say from FEB-MAY of 1969, THE GD WERE ON!!!!!!!!!
Reviewer: hyperboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 21, 2005
Subject: Whoa!
That's all I can say...get it!
Reviewer: dr. flashback - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 4, 2005
Subject: Top 5!
Well folks, it's time the old Doctor finally got around to reviewing some 1969 shows, been lost in the 70's too long! And I can't think of a better show than this to start with. This show is the real deal in spades, a pristine example of where the Dead were at in 1969 when they were really ON.
There are 3 runs (sets of shows) that really stand out for me as the peaks for the year. The first is the run at the Fillmore from late Feb to early March. You gotta buy em - it's worth it!! Also the late April run at the Ark in Boston - all tremendous shows. And this here 3 night run at the Avalon Ballroom. All 3 nights are worth having. But this 4/5 show is my favorite.
The show starts in an almost acoustic mode with Dupree's, and then a beautiful Mnts.of the Moon that just shines like a gem, nice vocal from Garcia.
***** smoke break *******
Okay, I'm listening to this Dark Star right now, and I gotta tell ya folks, this one still amazes me after many listenings. Jerry's mastery and sheer scope of his sound - all the way from blazing Hendrix bursts of blues, to experimental overdrive, and down to quiet
classical-like noodling. At 17 minutes, you might find longer Dark Stars in 69, but none as crafted and precise. They don't waste a note, esp. Jerry.
And just look at this song list! They don't leave out anything, plus the not usual additions of Handle, China Cat and the It's a Sin Jam.
As good as Set One is, they come back and take things even higher in Set Two. Jerry takes an extended solo in Doin That Rag that's quite good. Then they fire up the locomotive on the Other One, and it's one fast ride all the way to Bid You Goodnight - with no stops!! Phil and the 2 drummers are like one creature with six arms - their counter rhythms are an amazing thing to behold.
Listen to this Eleven thru Feedback (not for the timid of mind) and see if you don't agree that Jerry's performance is as good as anything Hendrix or Clapton was doing in 1969. Such Tone, such Taste, such Thunder! The 8 minute Feedback is Third Stone From the Sun meets Dr. Strange. No, your stereo is NOT melting, they just play it like that! Pink Floyd WHO???
Well damn I've heard this show probably 20 times at least and it just blew me away again! What are you waiting for? Be kind to your mind and DL this show now! Recommended heartily and 5 stars.
Dr. Flashback :-)
Reviewer: Jimi @ Holy Grail Studios - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 21, 2005
Subject: Oh yea, download this baby now.
This is probably my fav from 69.I can't believe no one else has mentioned Jerry's solo on Dark Star.So I will.
This is the most aggresive playing that I know of from the Captain.I mean this solo sounds down right pissed and firery as all hell.For fans of Jerry's soloing this is a must.Man,at the begining of his middle solo after the vocals you can hear him smacking the hell out of the body of his guitar to coax feedback out of it ala Hendrix, then that mutha just explodes.Of a million and one great DS solos this is the one for the ages.And the opener ain't too shabby either.A must for any guitar player.Proto-shred from one of the most misunderstood players of all time.
The rest of the show is damn near perfect, both in performance and recorded quality.
However,the afformentioned odd segue from the 11 into Lovelight only to be picked up again in the 2nd set might not be as it seems.
This show has been retracked and that transition sounds alot like a crossfade to me.Although, the persons name attached to this show has posted only shows of the highest integrity.Even though he appears to have access to studio qulity tools he does'nt feel the need to put them where they don't belong like other so called "REmastered" versions that were never mastered to begin with.So I don't think this person would crossfade the wrong sections together but if that is really the performance as it occured it sure is weird.No worry, this is a show that would be hard to mess up.
For other audio tweakers this is as good as it gets.I droped this baby in Pro Tools and 3 hrs latter with a liitle help from Waves came out with the best sounding Dead Show in my collection. Make this a priority download.
Highest reccomendations.
Reviewer: scenesof - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 22, 2005
Subject: Missing the Eleven
FYI the Eleven only goes as far as the end of the William Tell intro then cuts...nice show otherwise...

later that same day...whoa...ok i guess the Eleven really only DOES go as far as William Tell in the performance itself before a bizarre and abrupt segue into Lovelight...really weird...and then the Eleven instrumental section reappears way later in the weird is that?
Reviewer: Gallium - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 12, 2005
Subject: Alligator!
Show highlight: Awesome version of Alligator

Dark Star climaxes out of nowhere.

right before they launch into Alligator Jerry asks the crowd what song they want to hear, and you cant hear shit for answers until the end when some guy just says loudly "play alligaor!" and phil launches into it with the bombs. Guy had to be psyched!
Reviewer: DeadDave - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 20, 2005
Subject: Strangely sweet
This show is twisted man...I really like Jerry on Pedal on Handle and Cosmic
Reviewer: Mike Ashenfelder - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 5, 2004
Subject: Nice show
It's always a pleasure to hear "Mountains of the Moon" segue into "Dark Star." It creates a hushed atmosphere. The versions of both songs here are nice; not the Dead's best, but pretty nice. They show off their otherworld chops with broad electronic strokes on an exceptional "Feedback." A good aural snapshot of a special time.
Reviewer: Marcus T - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 17, 2004
Subject: Great Show
GREAT show that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention for whatever reason. I'd put this in the top 10 of '69, although '69 is not my favorite year and I have not heard too much of it. The Star medley, not surprisingly, is the bright spot here. Phil seems to be all over this one. Also, the TOO > Eleven will rattle your walls and scare the neighbours.

The slight hiss present makes me think that this lineage may not be as pure as indicated. However, coming from Charlie Miller, I'd suspect he would not be posting bunk lineages. Thanks for getting this out!
Reviewer: Marcus T - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 17, 2004
Subject: Great Show
GREAT show that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention for whatever reason. I'd put this in the top 10 of '69, although '69 is not my favorite year and I have not heard too much of it. The Star medley, not surprisingly, is the bright spot here. Phil seems to be all over this one. Also, the TOO > Eleven will rattle your walls and scare the neighbours.

The slight hiss present makes me think that this lineage may not be as pure as indicated. However, coming from Charlie Miller, I'd suspect he would not be posting bunk lineages. Thanks for getting this out!
Reviewer: dirty jev-o - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 28, 2004
Subject: avalon sweet avalon
i heard these were the last shows at Avalon Ballroom.....sweet quality...this is the first boot ever given to me by a local lover of Dead......thanks T. Simpson!!!! it's a sin........
Reviewer: velociraptor - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 25, 2004
Subject: good advice
(pertaining to the review above) - Grab it!
Reviewer: catzunderstarz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 1, 2004
Subject: Liquid Dead
Overshadowed by the Fillmore run 2-27 through 3-2, this is the real deal kiddies. Great sound, energy, weirdness, song selection. Grab it!! Still complete psychedelic 69 Dead before they turned country later in the year.
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